Industry Engagement

Tennessee employers face a dilemma each day. Companies want to hire Tennesseans, and although they receive many applicants, many of these applicants do not have the skills needed to perform jobs in the state's fastest growing fields. This "skill gap" is one of many issues Pathways Tennessee seeks to address by partnering with both business leaders and educators to build up our state's future workforce. But making sure Tennesseans have the right credential is not just a goal for teachers and counselors. Instead, it will help our state to have a more qualified group of employees.

As an industry partner with Pathways TN, you can become an instrumental force in ensuring all Tennesseans are ready to enter the world of work. This work directly benefits your organization as well, as you can begin to train employees to meet your company's needs and create a pipeline of future employees.

As an employer, there are many ways that you can be involved in the Pathways TN framework to engage and prepare our state's future workforce. Here are some ideas for how you can get involved:

  • Contact a local school to participate in a career fair, speak at an assembly to share about your organization, or allow students to shadow your employees to understand what a day on the job might be like.
  • Participate in project-based learning at local high schools and postsecondary institutions, using your expertise to provide students with the opportunity to tackle real-world experiences or challenges.  
  • Allow students to come to your business and participate in internship experiences, providing opportunities to work onsite, earn school credit, and gain the real-world skills they will need to enter the workforce.
  • Donate equipment or funds to a local school to make sure your future workforce can practice and gain experience on the tools they will use every day.
  • Allow teachers to come to your campus for an externship and learn more about your industry and company.
  • Serve on an industry advisory council to align Tennessee's career and technical education programs with industry and labor market needs.

Here's what some of our industry partners are saying about their work with Pathways TN:

Working with my peers to develop Pathways' strategy has been my most fulfilling project of 2016. As we've created pathways for students to link their interests and passions with educational and career opportunities, I've realized the personal satisfaction of making a positive impact on the next generation. I am thankful for this opportunity to invest in Tennessee's future!

– Dan Caldwell, Senior Manager, US Manufacturing, Nissan North America

Pathways TN is helping students make meaningful connections between what they're learning in class and their future careers. The more we can help students understand what opportunities exist for them in Rutherford County and across the state, the more likely we are to see them be successful in the work place.

– Beth Duffield, VP Education and Workforce Development, Rutherford Chamber of Commerce

Your organization can get involved, too! Please email Nick.Hansen@tn.gov if you have additional questions.

Additional Resources

Work-based learning allows students to come to your organization and earn class credit while building real-world skills. Although many businesses seem concerned about this idea, implementing work-based learning is not as hard as you might think. Below you will find some additional information that dispels myths about student involvement in industry and provides you with guidance about safety standards.